Net inflows, total assets down in Q2 for 529 plans, report shows

Net inflows and total assets of college savings plans, known as 529 plans, both dipped in the second quarter, a quarterly report from Financial Research Corp. shows.

Net inflows were $2.5 billion, down from $2.9 billion in the first quarter and flat from the same time last year.

Total assets decreased 0.5% to $157.5 billion in the quarter ended June 30, but increased 5.1% from a year earlier.

Paul Curley, director of college savings research at FRC, said that because college debt is increasing, he was surprised to see inflows flat from last year.

“We were still hovering around an all-time high,” Mr. Curley said in a telephone interview.

Mr. Curley said industry changes are afoot, including ING Retirement Services entering the market; Legg Mason (LM) adding individual investment options; American Funds adding target-date funds; and Tennessee introducing a direct-sold plan.

The report studied 94 college savings plans.